Jose Mourinho was unapologetically grumpy on the eve of the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg at Atletico Madrid and his team were unwaveringly stubborn in a goalless draw at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
Chelsea lost 2-1 to Sunderland in the English Premier League last Saturday to leave Mourinho in a sour mood and the European Cup they won in 2012 their most likely trophy chance this term.
Mourinho, appearing in the semi-finals for a fifth successive season, was returning to the city which was his home for three years while Real boss as he seeks a third European Cup win on 24 May in Lisbon after successes with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010.
The Portuguese opted for a defensive approach against Atletico, who had never lost to English visitors in nine previous matches and were the last unbeaten team in the competition. Los Rojiblancos, in the last four for the first time in 40 years, appeared undeterred by the pedigree of Chelsea and Mourinho in the competition, but encountered a black wall of shirts.
Striker Fernando Torres, starting against his former club, cut an isolated figure as the visitors packed men behind the ball, with Gary Cahill marshalling dangerman Diego Costa superbly. Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, playing against his parent club, was a spectator for much of the contest, which saw Chelsea's long-time No1 Petr Cech go off injured, clutching his shoulder after a heavy fall, inside the opening 20 minutes.
Captain John Terry also went off 18 minutes from time, forcing a defensive reshuffle, but still the visitors held firm to frustrate Atletico. Chelsea are likely to be a different proposition at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday, but they could be without three stalwarts in Cech, Terry and Frank Lampard, who will serve a suspension following a second-half booking.
Like Lampard, who might have been shown a second yellow card for handball, John Obi Mikel will be banned for the second leg after being booked as Chelsea's approach came at a cost.